A new brand entering the market hoping to carve out a share is not unlike the case of fishermen outnumbering the fishes.

The customer's mind is now cluttered with a plethora of options with players sprouting in every category from mouth freshener to real estate developer.

Tough call

This has made choosing brands or deciding between sticking with the usual and trying something new a tough call. On the bright side for companies, customer affordability is catching up with brand proliferation: Samsung and Nokia sold 90 million and 83 million handsets in India, respectively, in the first quarter of 2012-13. The consumer goods and durables sector is expected to touch Rs 85 lakh crore in 2015.

Mr S. Krishna Kumar, former Vice-President, Domestic Sales, Tube Products of India, was speaking to MBA students of Dhanalaksmi Srinivasan College of Engineering and Technology at a BL Club lecture organised by Business Line and presenting sponsor Central Bank of India.

He said there are many brands lying under the surface of popular brands, as they have yet to win the trust of customers.

There are close to 128 talcum powder brands that have below one per cent of the total market share in the segment; nearly 17 skin cream brands and 76 soap names are trying to break through the barrier.

He said companies should create a positive perception of their product's quality among customers to increase sales.

For that, it needs to satisfy the “stated and unstated requirements of the customer”.

“It's no secret that an after-shave lotion is a matter of style, even personality. But the unstated expectation is that it should work as an antiseptic too.”

A brand should also create that cut-above-the-rest quality for its products.

Positive perception

Mr Kumar asked students why they might prefer Coca-Cola to soda and a Kellogg's product to cornflakes.

The perception that the brands offer something special and exclusive is a recipe for brand penetration and also retention.

bharani.v@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on May 22, 2012)
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